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UKE launches new project to improve communication in hospitals

Research project may yield ideas on how to treat cancer patients

The UKE has launched a three-year project from October 2017 to improve communication for cancer patients, a press release said Wednesday (October 10). The project in the Cancer Centre at Hamburg-Eppendorf University focuses on improved patient-doctor communication and examines how their joint decisions can become everyday medical life.

Emphasis on patient’s preferences and living conditions

Decisions on therapy have rarely been made by both patient and doctor in the past, according to Dr. Isabelle Scholl, a psychologist and care researcher. She noted: “Too often, medical decisions were reached by one or more doctors without taking the patient’s preferences and living conditions into consideration.” Scholl runs the “Patient-focused care: Evaluation and Implementation” team at UKE’s Institute and Polyclinic for Medical Psychology. The team has developed a programme to make joint decisions between doctor and patient the norm.

Elements of project

The project will involve training courses for doctors and care personnel and providing material for patients to improve communication in hospitals. Scholl explained: “We want to be the first cancer centre in Germany to examine whether this programme will improve joint decision-making between doctors and patients.” Her team of cancer patients, doctors and care workers will interview consenting patients and evaluate the findings. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is putting EUR 400,000 towards the project. pb

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